From the Design Desk: Brilliant, Beautiful, Inspiring Illustrated Books

As designers at Chronicle Books, we eat, sleep, drink the design of illustrated books. Ours has been a rare and unique experience, but even more so nowadays when the changing world of publishing demands that a physical book have distinct object quality. How inspiring then to hear one of my design heroes, Paul Sahre articulate something very similar in the latest edition of Debbie Millman’s Video Design Matters. He says, “A lot of books will be going away, physical books, I mean. But these [ones with object quality] are the types of books that are selling more than they were 5 years ago.”

Sahre and illustrator Brian Rea recently worked together with Malcolm Gladwell on an illustrated collection of Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. The boxed set is stunning.

Hearing about the process that made this project come to life is totally exhilarating.

Another recently published book that pairs compelling text with fabulous art is Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, illustrated by Maira Kalman. For a reader, it’s a delight to experience the drawings alongside the text. For a designer, and I’m guessing lots of other folks, it’s an object to treasure.

Be still my heart! Illustrated, physical books!

Brooke Johnson
Senior Designer

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